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Artist
Photay
ReleaseProduct
On Hold
Label
Mexican Summer
Catalogue Number
MEX3086
Release Date
March 5, 2021
  • Vinyl 1×LP, Limited Coloured

    $23.49

    Blue vinyl

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    • + MP3
    • Bleep retail exclusive
    • Limited to 500
    • Instant download of exclusive bonus track Initial Transmission (I. Past II. Present III. Ad Infinitum)

  • Vinyl 1×LP

    $24.49

    Black vinyl

    Read More
    • + MP3
    • Instant download of exclusive bonus track Initial Transmission (I. Past II. Present III. Ad Infinitum)

    Stock on order, expected soon.

Instant MP3 download with all Vinyl / Vinyl purchases.

Genres

There’s a unique brand of domestic intensity to being put on hold by a phone operator; you feel a momentary loss of agency at the hands of an unseen other — likely someone for whom you are owed a monetary debt — caught in a finite expanse of time that stretches to eternity. When, if ever, will a voice appear on the other end? Crafted from a collection of audible frequency transmissions broadcast through a band of 300 to 3400 Hz, Evan Shornstein aka Photay’s On Hold captures this small-scale drama in the form of micro-ambient soundscapes.

The noted absences throughout the LP — discernible dialogue, a progressing conversation — makes for a Kafkaesque experience; we the listeners are kept in the dark without meaning or structure, left powerless in the space between query and answer, message and reply. Strangely, the buzzing organ glow of ‘Roaming’ and the bristly drones of ‘Peak Bandwidth’ make for a blissful experience, their decaying tones reminiscent of William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops. The amniotic plateaus of ‘How May I Help You?’ and the enigmatically titled ‘March 10th, 1876’ offer mild jolts of recognition in their distant, human murmurs, whether organic or automated.

On Hold is an LP of cavernous mystery, and yet ironically, it delivers an aesthetic representation of something universal: the act of waiting.

Photay on the project:

"Initially I was inspired by a friend’s phone call when they were placed on hold for an hour while attempting to report credit card fraud. Unlike most call waiting music, the infinite looping flute was slightly more intriguing, probably as a result of it’s narrow fidelity. I jumped in, recording and manipulating 30 minutes of that frustrating idle time. From this moment onward, I recorded every moment I was placed on hold and each call would yield a new song. I told various friends about this strange new activity and soon enough my cousin was passing me numbers: “this bike shop has the BEST on hold music” or “I was just on hold with my insurance, you should definitely call them". Aside from actual phone calls to the doctor or customer service, I began calling numbers with one purpose — to be placed on hold. The request was strange and although receptionists laughed, they agreed to lend their holding services. I was on my way, reverberating and chopping up the lowest fidelity audio around.

Unlike most of my other projects, these pieces were completed in one sitting. Every track conceived after each phone call, often in the space of 20 minutes in the middle of a busy day. I am surprised by the amount of peace yielded from such an aggravating scenario. The process gave me a newfound appreciation for the mundane. There is infinite depth and magic in everything around us."

Digital Track List

  1. 1 Prelude in MHz Photay and Evan Shornstein 0:41 Buy

    Prelude in MHz

  2. 2 Peace in the Era of Telecommunication Photay and Evan Shornstein 4:59 Buy

    Peace in the Era of Telecommunication

  3. 3 Please Hold Photay and Evan Shornstein 4:49 Buy

    Please Hold

  4. 4 Traversing Frequency Bands Photay and Evan Shornstein 4:25 Buy

    Traversing Frequency Bands

  5. 5 Holding Pattern Photay and Evan Shornstein 3:57 Buy

    Holding Pattern

  6. 6 The Strength of Our Signals Photay and Evan Shornstein 2:17 Buy

    The Strength of Our Signals

  7. 7 Roaming Photay and Evan Shornstein 4:50 Buy

    Roaming

  8. 8 How May I Help You? Photay and Evan Shornstein 6:47 Buy

    How May I Help You?

  9. 9 Peak Bandwidth Photay and Evan Shornstein 3:37 Buy

    Peak Bandwidth

  10. 10 Hold On Photay and Evan Shornstein 4:58 Buy

    Hold On

  11. 11 March 10th, 1876 Photay and Evan Shornstein 6:13 Buy

    March 10th, 1876

  12. 12 Peace in Perpetuity Photay and Evan Shornstein 3:04 Buy

    Peace in Perpetuity

Photay

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Mexican Summer

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Ambient and Modern Classical

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